Dark Alpha’s Lover is a brand new paranormal romance in her Reapers series featuring a brotherhood of elite assassins from New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant.
There is no escaping a Reaper. I am an elite assassin, part of a brotherhood that only answers to Death. And when Death says your time is up, I am coming for you...
I answer to no one but Death. I am impenetrable, impervious, immortal. I exist to do Death's bidding and no one--not Reaper nor human nor Fae--can stand in my way. Except for the bewitching half-Fae, Catriona. She swears the magic in her family passed her by, but I know better. This woman is strong. This woman is powerful. And when her abilities surge forth, no one will be able to stop the Dark Fae from coming for her. Except for me. I want to keep her close. I want to keep her safe. I want lose myself to her, again and again...
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Donna Grant has been praised for her “totally addictive” and “unique and sensual” stories. She’s written more than thirty novels spanning multiple genres of romance including the bestselling Dark King stories, Dark Craving, Night’s Awakening, and Dawn’s Desire. Her acclaimed series, Dark Warriors, feature a thrilling combination of Druids, primeval gods, and immortal Highlanders who are dark, dangerous, and irresistible. She lives with her two children, a dog, and four cats in Texas.
"Dark, sexy, magical. When I want to indulge in a sizzling fantasy adventure, I read Donna Grant."
--Allison Brennan, New York Times Bestselling Author
Read an Excerpt
Dark Alpha's Lover
A Reaper Story
By Donna Grant
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Donna Grant
All rights reserved.
Nothing was ever as it seemed.
There were more than humans walking this earth. The things seen out of the corner of your eye were real, even if your mind refused to recognize — or accept — them.
But Catriona Hayes knew of their existence, even if she wished she didn't. They were Fae. Magical creatures that were so beautiful they seemed otherworldly — because they were.
The Fae had come to this world, seamlessly integrating themselves into the lives of mortals. But then again, when it came to beings with magic, they could do such things.
Cat blew out a breath and put the day's earnings in the pouch before placing it inside the safe and shutting the door. She straightened and looked through the windows of the café and across the street to the pub alight with merriment.
There was a bit of wistfulness within her when she spotted three women walking into the bar with bright smiles. She'd never been that carefree.
From the first moment she could remember, her family had kept her apart from others. It wasn't until she was older that she realized what made her so different — she was a Halfling.
Part human, part Fae.
Some might rejoice at the news, but she wasn't most people.
The first time her grandfather had told her of her heritage, she'd laughed, thinking it was a jest. But as they'd walked down the streets of Galway, he began pointing out the Fae.
That was the day her life changed. At eight years old, she'd felt the weight of the world drop upon her shoulders. The burden had nearly brought her to her knees. And it had lingered, growing heavier with each passing year.
Yet she remained standing beneath it all. Only because of her grandfather. The man who smiled in the midst of the many storms life threw his way. He was what kept her composed and mindful of the dangers of living near Fae.
While she had been fearful of her grandfather's revelation, her older siblings had embraced it as a gift.
Cat looked down at the counter and the top that covered it. Beneath the thick glass, next to the register, was a picture of her with her brother and sister twenty years ago.
Whatever gift having Fae blood had given her siblings had been taken away in a cruel twist of Fate several months ago when they were savagely killed.
Her brother had been murdered in a crowded pub, while her sister had had her life snuffed out on a train to London. No one had seen either attack. One moment, her siblings had been alive. The next, they were dead. It was how Cat knew the Fae were responsible.
Only beings with magic and the ability to veil themselves could have committed such crimes without a single person catching something on their mobile phones.
Ever since her family's deaths, she'd been waiting for the Fae to come for her.
What was taking them so long? She and her grandfather — who she kept locked safely away in his cottage where no Fae could enter — were the only ones left.
A flash of lightning pulled her from her thoughts and reminded her that she needed to get home. She started toward the front, turning off the lights as she went. Flipping the sign in the café window to CLOSED, she walked out the door and locked it.
When she faced the street once more, she gripped the handle of her purse and looked around at the people. She knew the Fae could use glamour to disguise themselves, though most preferred to remain beautiful. That made it easier to pick them out, but it did nothing to lessen Cat's dread.
She remained in the doorway as a couple walked past her. The man said something to make the woman laugh. Cat's heart caught because she couldn't remember the last time she'd giggled like that — never mind actually being on a date.
Cat squared her shoulders and turned to the left. Her cottage was toward the outskirts of Galway. She couldn't wait to get home where she could relax.
"Relax," she snorted.
There was no such thing for her. While others brushed their cares away with a pint of ale and loud music, she would eat alone at her house and sleep with one eye open.
Being half-Fae had done nothing but make her life miserable. She'd gotten nothing else from it. Her sister, Nora, had been able to move objects with her mind. Her brother, Domhnall, could grow plants.
For some strange reason, magic had passed her over altogether. No matter how hard she tried, there didn't seem to be a smidgen of magic within her.
Countless times, she'd asked her grandfather what she'd done to not have magic. He'd never quite answered her. In his usual way, he would tell a story about all the Halflings who lived without magic.
But she always suspected that he was keeping something from her.
No amount of conniving or posing the question different ways ever gave her another answer, though. With every year that passed, she was more and more sure that her grandfather was hiding something.
Cat tensed when she walked past a Fae talking to a mortal female. His silver eyes, black hair, and sex appeal were the biggest clues to what he was — Light Fae. At least, it wasn't a Dark.
The Dark scared her the most with their red eyes. She shuddered just thinking about them.
She turned the corner and quickened her pace. Thunder rumbled the same time lightning zigzagged across the sky. More rain was on the way, but if she were lucky, she'd make it back to her cottage before it came.
Suddenly, she stopped. She didn't know what had caught her attention, but something told her to go no farther. Her gaze roamed down the street as people milled about.
There was something in the air that draped over everything like a wet blanket. It took her a moment to realize what it was — fear. She looked at the humans and saw that none of them appeared to be affected.
Then she heard the footsteps coming, quickly. She saw the man running toward her and looking back over his shoulder. He passed beneath a streetlamp, and she saw his eyes — red.
But it was the terror on his face that surprised her. She hadn't thought there was anything a Dark feared, but whatever was after this particular Fae must be frightening.
Her head told her to run, but her body refused to move. She remained where she was, even as a man appeared out of thin air in front of the Dark.
The Fae slid to a halt, his eyes wide. The man before him had long, white hair that was pulled away from his face by three small braids on each side of his head.
She had little time to process that before she saw the light glint off a blade. The sword sliced through the air and cut down the Dark, turning him to dust in an instant.
Shock reverberated through her as she involuntarily took a step back. What kind of weapon did he have that could kill a Fae?
Because she wanted one.
He took two steps away before he suddenly halted, his body stiffening. Then he gradually turned his head to look right at her. She couldn't make out his face because of the shadows, but she knew he'd seen her.
And then, he disappeared.
She took another step back and hastily looked around, but there was no other sign of the white-haired man. Yet she knew she wasn't alone.
He was there. She was sure of it. Just as she was sure the Fae would come for her soon.
Somehow, she managed to stand her ground. If she were going to die, she would do it with courage. Even if she was shaking. She wasn't going to run, no matter how much she wanted to.
She felt something behind her a moment before the sound of footsteps reached her. Cat whirled around, ready to face the unknown stranger. But it was a Dark Fae who walked toward her.
"Shite," she murmured and turned back around.
"Hiya, darlin'," the Dark called. "What's your hurry?"
She walked faster and said over her shoulder, "Long day."
"Let me buy you a drink."
She waited for him to say more, and when he didn't, she gave a sigh of relief. It wasn't until she was in her cottage that she slumped against the door.
Another day gone.CHAPTER 2
Fintan stepped in front of the Dark, blocking his advance on the Halfling. "Leave her."
The Dark's red eyes flashed with anger. "I saw her first."
"I'm telling you to leave her. It's your last warning."
The Dark sneered. "Or what?"
"Bugger off," he said and tried to push past Fintan.
Fintan called his sword to him. The Dark's eyes widened when he saw it. "I warned you," Fintan said right before he plunged the blade into the Fae's stomach.
At least this time, he was sure no one had seen him. With just a thought, his sword disappeared once more. How had he missed the redhead? He'd never made such a mistake before.
The night had started out good. There was something about hunting that eased his soul. When his quarry was as frightened and impulsive as the Dark Fae he'd been sent to kill, it was even better.
After Death had marked the Darks for dispatch, Fintan had eagerly left Scotland to walk the streets of Ireland once more. Though it had never been his home.
The Fae — both Light and Dark — claimed The Emerald Isle as their own. But for him, the only true home he'd ever known was with the other Reapers.
Fintan veiled himself once more and turned to watch the red-haired Halfling hurry away. Death had set explicit rules for the Reapers, and one was that no Fae could know who they were.
And if someone did see them, they had to die. He'd intended to kill the half-Fae, but when he'd stood behind her, it wasn't alarm or panic he sensed. It had been acceptance.
That single, simple emotion stopped him cold.
He was intrigued, and that surprised him. Perhaps it all came back to what had occurred with Eoghan. For just a second, Fintan allowed his anger to churn in his gut.
There were seven Reapers, but one of them was now gone. They didn't know where Eoghan was or how to find him. No matter how hard they'd searched, there was no sign of their brother.
All because of Bran.
As one of the original Reapers, Bran had broken Death's greatest rule and allowed a Light Fae to know of them, all because he'd been in love with her.
That love had cost the Light her life, which in turn had caused Bran to betray the other Reapers. The only ones who survived were Cael and Eoghan. Cael now led the Reapers.
It was during their last battle with Bran where everything had gone wrong. No matter how Fintan looked at it, he couldn't figure out how they could have stopped what happened.
They didn't know how Bran's magic was continuing to grow, rivaling that of Death's. Despite that, however, they'd nearly won the last battle, ending Bran's revenge once and for all. Help had come from one of the most legendary Light Fae of all time: Rhi.
As they'd battled each other, however, the mix of Bran's and Rhi's magic created a maelstrom, which began ripping the house apart. Bran had used the vortex, directing the energy at Cael, but Eoghan pushed Cael out of the way and was swallowed by the magic instead.
Each of the Reapers was devastated by the loss. More so because Bran had managed to get away in the aftermath.
Fintan hated that Death had wiped Rhi's memories of them. They could really use her help. But it was either erase all mention of the Reapers or kill Rhi.
His thoughts halted when he felt the first drops of rain land on his cheek. Ignoring the coming storm, Fintan found himself following the Halfling. Somehow, she'd escaped Bran's wrath as he and his men systematically hunted and killed every human with Fae blood.
Curious as to how she'd stayed alive, Fintan wanted to know more about her. Too many half-Fae had been wiped out, and he wasn't keen on eliminating another one.
He paused, curious about his thoughts — and feelings. Ever since Eoghan's disappearance, he'd had odd notions. He'd buried all of his feelings long ago, so to have them make themselves known now was disconcerting.
Fintan continued on. It didn't take him long to find the Halfling. Her stone cottage was quaint. As he walked the perimeter, he was surprised to find that there were no markings used as wards against Fae There hadn't been shock in her gaze when she'd seen him. That indicated she knew what he was. Which also meant she knew she had Fae blood within her.
Why then didn't she ensure that her home couldn't be invaded?
He stood at the front, looking through the large window. The curtains were drawn, but there was a wide enough slit that he could see her standing in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil. As soon as it did, she poured the water into her cup to make tea.
He watched the way her red hair fell in a thick curtain midway down her back. She moved gracefully as she walked to the sofa and curled up on it. He expected her to turn on the television, as most humans did.
Instead, she picked up a book and began to read. He studied her oval face, noting the delicate shape of her jaw before his gaze moved to her mouth.
Tempting. That's the first thought that came to mind as he looked at her full lips. His gaze moved upward to her cheekbones and her large eyes that were a vivid, emerald green.
The desire swirling within him was like a warning bell going off in his head, demanding he leave. He attempted to squash the feeling, but it was a halfhearted try. The craving, the hunger ... felt too damn good.
He couldn't remember the last time he'd experienced any sort of yearning. It kept him rooted to the spot, staring at a woman he could have no part of.
A Reaper pledged himself to Death. There could be no connections to family or friends, no lovers or any sort of relationships outside of the Reapers.
It had been Death's order from the very beginning. It was also something Fintan agreed with completely. A Reaper couldn't do his job if his thoughts were on others.
Yet, Death had altered her rule recently. Baylon had brought Jordyn into their group. Not long after, Kyran brought River, who now carried his child.
The most recent was Neve. She was the newest Reaper and lover to Talin.
Fintan didn't begrudge Jordyn and River being with them. They'd each brought something with them to help hunt Bran, and their being half-Fae was a plus.
But none of that altered his view of a Reaper loving someone. Love could be a dangerous emotion. He should know. He'd exploited it during his reign of terror with ruthless, brutal precision.
He turned when he heard something behind him and found two Light Fae watching the cottage. As the minutes passed, more Fae appeared. Dark and Light stood together, observing the redhead.
Now, more than ever, he wanted to know what it was about the Halfling that drew the interest of others. And if these Fae knew about her, how was it that Bran didn't? Or worse, did Bran know of her and had he allowed her to live?
If that were the case, Fintan needed to know everything there was to know about the woman.
With his decision made, he walked past the Fae and used glamour to change his hair to black and his eyes to silver. Then he dropped the veil and stared at the cottage.
It wasn't long before a female Light Fae stopped beside him. "I've not seen you here before."
He shrugged. "I normally spend my time in Dublin. What's going on?"
"That's Catriona Hayes."
He raised a brow. Obviously, he was supposed to know who this girl was. "Who?"
"Wow," the Light said with a laugh. "You must've been living under a rock. I thought everyone knew who the Hayeses were."
"Tell me," he urged.
She tucked her black hair behind an ear and looked to the cottage as she began. "They've had not one, but three Fae give them children over the last eight hundred years. Of all the Halflings, they are the most powerful."
If that were true, how had he never heard of them before? As of this moment, that would change.
"You watch her. Why?" Fintan asked.
Silver eyes turned to him. "We're waiting for her to die. The rest of her family has been killed. We think it's the Reapers since word has spread that they've returned."
It wasn't as if Fintan could tell her the Reapers had nothing to do with the Halfling deaths. "You think to get a look at a Reaper?"
"No. Well, perhaps," she said with a shrug. "We know her days are numbered, so we watch and wait."
"How ... morbid."
She shrugged indifferently. "It's the way of the mortals. Even ones with magic."
"Why not help her?"
The Light laughed, shaking her head of short, black hair. "Why would we want to do that?"
After the Fae had walked away, Fintan stepped back into the shadows and veiled himself, dropping the glamour at the same time.
The other Reapers would be waiting to hear from him. He should return to their compound on Inchmickery off the coast of Edinburgh, but he hesitated. In fact, each time he tried to leave, he found that he didn't want to.
Hours passed as Light and Dark came to have a look at Catriona. Even after all the lights were out and the mortal had found her bed for the night, the Fae still milled about in curiosity.
Excerpted from Dark Alpha's Lover by Donna Grant. Copyright © 2017 Donna Grant. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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